Mike Singletary Visits Vols

Former Chicago Bears linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Mike Singletary spoke to the Tennessee football squad Thursday prior to the team's regularly scheduled spring practice session. Singletary is the featured speaker Friday at the annual UT Spring Coaching Clinic.

"He visited with the team for about 30 minutes," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "He gave a great talk to the team and will visit with the coaches (Friday). He's a very, very special man."

Singletary, 46, joined the Baltimore Ravens as linebackers coach in January 2003, his first foray into the coaching ranks. He played 12 years at middle linebacker for the Bears and was inducted into the hall of fame in 1998.

"He had been in his own business for about 10 years, doing motivational-type work," Fulmer said. "Everybody remembers those eyes from his playing days and he's still just as intense."

Singletary served as president of Leadership Zone, a company that provides leadership, winning attitudes and motivation training to businesses, prior to his accepting the Baltimore position. He totaled 1,488 tackles (885 solo) during his playing career, finishing as the Bears' first- or second-leading tackler each of his last 11 seasons.

In 1985, Singletary quarterbacked the Bears' 46-defense to a 46-10 victory over New England in Super Bowl XX. The Bears' defense allowed fewer than 11 points per game during the regular season and held the Patriots to a Super Bowl record-low 7 yards rushing.

Singletary is equally impressive in the community. He was named 1990 NFL Man of the Year for playing excellence and off-the-field community contributions, was the recipient of the 1991 "Athletes in Action" Bart Starr Award, the Byron "Whizzer" White Award (1989), and the Dapper Dan Farewell to Sports Award (1993) — all recognizing quality achievements and high moral character off the field by players who excel on the field.

His Friday talk to the clinic attendees kicks off a busy 24 hours at the football complex. Not only is the Vol coaching staff serving as hosts for the event, which runs through midday Saturday, but the coaches also must squeeze in Friday afternoon's practice and the Saturday scrimmage.

"We have a good number of coaches we're expecting for our clinic, so it's busy," Fulmer said. "It's always a good time to share ideas with our coaches who visit us and it's part of the recruiting process, too.

"(Friday) will be a shorts practice to get the players everything they're going to see on Saturday," Fulmer said. "Hopefully, we'll get a couple of guys back for the scrimmage."

Fulmer said redshirt freshman Robert Meachem returned to the field Thursday in limited duty. The wideout has missed most of spring practice with a sore hamstring after missing all of last year with a knee injury. And Gerald Riggs Jr. was absent after suffering a high ankle sprain in the short scrimmage Tuesday. Fulmer said the junior tailback would be lucky to return by the April 17 Orange and White Game.

"That's the price you pay if you try to have a physical spring," Fulmer said. "We've stayed the course. You just play the guys who are out there and go on."

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